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Artificial intelligence

AI-powered software robots are getting into the sales business

August 21, 2018

HR chatbot company Talla is expanding its artificial-intelligence software into sales.

Talla’s background: As our own Will Knight wrote back in 2016, the Boston-based business develops chatbots to help new HR workers get up to speed and be more productive. The company is using machine learning and natural-language processing to create software that’s smarter than the average bot.

The news: Today, it’s launching a platform that moves into other areas of the office. It’s now augmenting sales, customer service, and other customer-facing roles. Using existing written content, Talla’s platform learns answers to customer and employee questions, and connects those answers with software that can perform a needed task.

What that means: Talla CEO Rob May told MIT Technology Review that the new software is to salespeople as an exoskeleton is to a construction worker. Rather than having to dig through pages of info, new sales reps will be able to use it as a simple way to find answers, making their work easier and faster. When applicable, it’ll then offer to take the next step, automatically completing tasks like updating a customer address.

Why it matters: Talla’s platform is part of a broader migration businesses are making toward software robots. “We have a long-term goal of building digital workers,” says May. As the company builds up the number of tasks it can automate, it’s slowly creating a computerized employee.

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